Dean Gillian Lester smiling while wearing an orange jacket

Gillian Lester

  • Dean of the Faculty of Law and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law

J.S.D., Stanford University, 1998
LL.B., University of Toronto, 1990
B.Sc., University of British Columbia, 1986

Areas of Specialty

Employment Law and Policy

Dean Gillian Lester is a leading authority on employment law and policy, specializing in workplace intellectual property law, contracts, public finance policy, and the design of social insurance laws and regulations. 

Dean Lester began her teaching career at UCLA School of Law in 1994 and joined Berkeley Law School as a professor in 2006, serving as interim dean from 2012 to 2014. She has held visiting appointments at Harvard Law School, Georgetown Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, in Israel.

Dean Lester is the editor of Philosophical Foundations of Labour Law (with Hugh Collins and Virginia Mantouvalou), from Oxford University Press, and her widely used casebook, Employment Law: Cases and Materials (with Steven L. Willborn, Stewart J. Schwab and John F. Burton Jr.), is now in its sixth edition. Her journal articles and book chapters include “‘Keep Government Out of My Medicare’: The Elusive Search for Popular Support of Taxes and Social Spending” and “Can Joe the Plumber Support Redistribution? Law, Social Preferences, and Sustainable Policy Design.”

Dean Lester serves on the boards of the Legal Aid Society of New York and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. She also serves on the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools and is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI).


  • Employment Law Cases and Materials, (with Willborn, Schwab & Burton), LexisNexis, 2017, (6th edition)
  • Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security, Workplace Flexibility, 2010, and Berkeley Center for Health, Economic and Family Security, 2010
  • Jumping the Queue: An Inquiry into the Legal Treatment of Students with Disabilities, (with Mark Kelman), Harvard University Press, 1997
  • “Age Discrimination and Labour Law in the United States,” (Mia Ronnmar and Ann Numhauser-Henning eds.), Age Discrimination in Labour Law, Kluwer Law International, 2015
  • “Keep Government Out of My Medicare”: The Search for Popular Support of Taxes and Social Spending, (Michael Sherraden and Marion Crain eds.), Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility, Oxford University Press, 2013
  • “Can Joe the Plumber Support Redistribution? Law, Social Preferences, and Sustainable Policy Design,” Tax Law Review, 2011
  • “Beyond Collective Bargaining: Modern Unions and Social Solidarity,” (Brian Langille and Guy Davidov, eds.), The Idea of Labor Law, Cambridge University Press, 2011
  • “Restrictive Covenants and Choice of Laws: An American Perspective,” Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, 2010
  • “A Defense of Paid Family Leave,” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, 2005
  • “Unemployment Insurance and Wealth Redistribution,” UCLA Law Review, 2001
  • “Restrictive Covenants, Employee Training, and the Limits of Transaction-Cost Analysis,” 76 Indiana Law Journal, 2001
  • “Careers and Contingency,” Stanford Law Review, 1998

View a list of Gillian Lester’s publications

Remarks and Testimony

Honors and Awards

Elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences